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Rangers - Shkupi 12 July

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  • Rangers - Shkupi 12 July

    1.083 - 8.00 - 15.00

  • #2
    Well, surely i'm not here to write about Shkupi as i know nothing about them Hopefully someone who knows them will bother to write a few words.

    So let's talk about the "new" Rangers, the one under legend Steven Gerrald as a coach. Steven has said in an interview that he admires the football that Liverpool is playing with Jurgen Klopp and that he wants Rangers to play the same way. Of course when i say "the same" i mean by adding his own ideas as well and adopted to a different championship such is the Scottish Premiership and Scottish football. But overall, the principals are the same and so is the gaming style. A winning mentality, a football that will leave fans happy and satisfied. Full control of the game if possible and as he was as a player himself, bleed for the shirt if possible. That means passion, hunger, pressing. Whatever i'm trying to say here, Gerrald said that with few words after their last friendly and i quote: "Go full speed. Go full throttle. And when you smell blood, go for it.***8221; At that last and only friendly they played pre-season, Gerrald used a 4-1-3-2 formation. For the history, Rangers won 6-0.

    So what else is new at this new Rangers? First of all it's the desire of the fans, their flair and it's all coming back to Ibrox since this is a home game. It is coming back to push the team as they know and it's going to be very hot like in the old days. Just to say that at their last friendly which was at Friday night and Belgium was playing with Brazil at the WC, Ibrox had 41,015 fans! (more than Brazil v Belgium had that night cause it was something around 35k i think) lol that's crazy for a friendly game against Bury which is playing at League two of England. Just to write that this game against Shkupi has been sold out more than a week before kick off and there will be 50k fans.

    What else? Transfers of course! There have been so far 9 new players coming in the team and 6 of them might even start at this game. Rangers are going to be a whole new team this season (if they will be good or bad, we will found out in time). To understand how different everything will be, they signed Lassana Coulibaly and Umar Sadiq just two days ago and Gerrald will try to put them in the squad for this game already. They have two wildcards and can be used till today if work permit will come on time. With so many players coming and without friendlies, someone might say that he will a lot of time to make them a team and work as one. True, but some players already showed what their future will be at Rangers. Scott Arfield for example seems to be the leader in the pitch that Rangers were looking. Good passionate player (exactly what Gerrald was looking) who has a good eye to pass the ball at the right moment and also be a threat himself for the opponent keepers. Then it is keeper McGregor who is no stranger to Ibrox as he started from Ranger's academies. So basically a good keeper is coming back to the team he grew up and learned how to play football. McGregor already show at their friendly game that nothing is being left in fade as he was shouting all of the time to wake up the defense and give instructions. This is something that Rangers were missing for some time now. To have a boss at the back is very important. The pair of new defenders Goldson and Katic looked ok but Bury wasn't much of a threat anyway. However, a couple of things someone could notice is a) Goldson can be a leader in defense while b) Katic seemed to be a bit in a "shock". It's all new to him and as he said "he was used to play with max 3000 fans and his next step was to play in a friendly game with 41.000 fans". He might need more time which is something that worries me for this game, at least for the first minutes.

    One other very characteristic of Gerrald's work is the fitness. Even the "old" players from previous season looked more fit and sharp. This is where most of their game will be based as i wrote earlier. The whole team were pressing high and they won the second balls there, some spite in the tackles as well which has been missing. Really, it's very impressive how they changed so much as a team regarding fitness level. Gerrald has brought back the fighting spirit of this team and that's what you should expect to see at this game. Hammering from the flanks all of the time, high pressure everywhere and clean sheet of course. After the last 6-0 win friendly game when Gerrald was asked about the game, he said that he is happy that his team kept the clean sheet. That's what all the pressure is about, to not let the opponent create a chance and not to go full attack from the start till the end (of course that will be part of their game too but focus is on clean sheet). Just to be clear on that and not get confused.

    Ok, so everything looks perfect for Rangers, right? Well no actually if we are talking about the club. Financial problems are still there and it is obvious on the transfer policy first of all. Only for 4 of the new signings they spend money to buy them, the rest are either free or on loan. They cannot spend as much as they want at the moment and they cannot count in money from selling shirts (for more about this read here And the whole Europa League qualification is taking a much more serious meaning as there is no space for not making it to the next round(s), like they did last season.

    Now i realized that i wrote too much but i don't know who follows Scottish football and who knows about Rangers. The bottom line of all is that Rangers will press to keep the clean sheet and take a good score ahead of the second leg. They know that the weather at the second leg wont be on their side. Same as with Celtic here, corner race (as Rangers will use flanks a lot and long shots with Arfield or others) and goal difference. GL!

    P.S.: There might be a question mark regarding pitch condition as they established it just a week ago and the friendly against Bury was too early. It wasn't the perfect pitch at the end of that friendly and there isn't much time for the grass to reach it's perfect condition. You might see some part of grass flying at some tackling


    • #3
      Shkupi is nothing special, mid-table team in their local league... mediocre players. They are pretty much lucky to be there as Shkendija won the local cup but they were in Champions League already so they had to put another team in Europa League so they choosed the 4th of the table.. It's the first european game for most of the players, they will be lost in Glasgow.

      Anything else than a big home win would be a surprise for me.


      • #4
        Rangers will score at least 5 here, if they want to bother... Shkupi are under mediocre team.


        • #5
          We will see when line up will come out tomorrow and how Rangers will play. They will be better with two players in attack as Morelos alone doesn't seem to be able to do the job, he needs a second striker. Sadiq who was signed for this (i don't know yet if they register him today, haven't check yet) is good only with his head but overall bad with the ball on his feet as i saw from videos. Beside the question if he is fit, he just came only two days ago so it is not expected to start.

          Morelos at the moment (and at last season as well) seems to me that he lucks motive and confident. A taller player inside the box is needed and someone to "force" Morelos to find his motive again and play as he did when he first came here.

          And again, this is all without knowing how tall Shkupi is, if they play with 10 men inside the box, if if if, i simple have no knowledge of them. Blindly corner bet for me as pre-game bet and live for goals, that's my way on this game. And of course, only when line ups will come out to see who and how Rangers will play


          • #6
            Some highlights from Gerrald's press talk before the game

            On how new signings are settling

            Good players are on the same wavelength and good players gel pretty quick. We feel we've already improved things a lot but there's still some pieces missing and we'll try and get them

            On Europa League opener

            Very ready (for tomorrow). It's always a test, we only have to go back 12 months to realise that any opposition has to be respected and we have to take the test very seriously.

            On using his Euro experience as a player

            But this will probably be one of the easiest team-talks I'll ever have to do as a manager because you only have to go back 12 months and show them the newspaper cuttings, show them the faces at the final whistle. There's your team talk right there, it smacks you in the face.

            On facing FK Shkupi

            If (our) players go in thinking its easy, that's when you come unstuck - you show your opposition disrespect. They (Shkupi) are coming into a stadium that's packed to the rafters, it'll be the biggest night of their careers so far, with all due respect.

            The squad

            Allan McGregor, Wes Foderingham, Jak Alnwick, James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Lee Hodson, Jon Flanagan, Nikola Katic, Bruno Alves, Declan John, Graham Dorrans, Ryan Jack, Ovie Ejaria, Josh Windass, Andy Halliday, Jordan Rossiter, Daniel Candeias, Greg Docherty, Scott Arfield, Jamie Murphy, Alfredo Morelos, Glenn Middleton

            All 7 summer signings have been included except (so far) from the last two, Coulibaly and Sadiq. The 24 hours window is not closed yet so they still have chances to be included. *Former captain Lee Wallace is out because he was fined last season by the club after having a conflict with former coach and the "thing" with the club is not over yet. Bruno Alves has been included (to help in case he will be needed coming from the bench) but this will be his last game with Rangers as he will move to Parma. Highly-rated youngster Glenn Middleton is included and although Ross McCrorie and Zak Rudden don't appear on the list, they will all be available to Gerrard (they are U21 and academy graduates and can be used without being named in the original squad). The list includes also Graham Dorrans and Jordan Rossiter despite both being on the sidelines with injuries (and wont come back for at least one more week or two).

            * James Tavernier has been named by Gerrald as new captain of the team, so he has extra motive at this game as it is the first official of the season and to prove also to the fans that he can do the job (there are few fans that don't believe he has the leadership abilities). Tavernier can score from free kicks and also when he moves forward.

            That's all from me, good luck with your bets!


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarianoV6 View Post
              Some highlights from Gerrald's press talk before the game

              That's all from me, good luck with your bets!
              Glad to see that you carry the effort from the World Cup also to other games from the new season!

              I'll be looking forward to how my favorite player Steve G will perform at Glasgow.


              • #8
                But last year rangers only 1:0 against Luxemburg side and the couldnt relegate against them.


                • #9


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